Are you looking for a new way to boost your restaurant’s brand and spread the word about your business? If you’ve already sent out flyers, partnered with other businesses, and marketed promos, maybe it’s time to try something new.
Many restaurant chains are creating merchandise as a marketing tool. Tim Hortons partnered with Justin Bieber to create branded fanny packs and toques, as well as branding their own line of clothing and accessories. And they’re not alone. From KFC to M&M’s to Oscar Mayer, companies are looking for more exposure through merchandising their brands.
Can this benefit your restaurant? It’s thought that around 25 per cent of restaurant sales come from retail and gift cards, so there’s an opportunity to up your profits and get more eyes on your logo to promote your restaurant without even trying.
Like any new idea, testing it out before you fully commit is a smart play. Use your best customers as your test audience to make something that makes sense for your business.
Ask them which items would appeal to them the most. If you’re a local pub, sweatshirts might interest your regulars, while coffee shops might see the most success by selling reusable mugs.
You don’t want to get stuck trying to move inventory, so try a few items at a time and notice what sells so you can expand your line strategically.
It might seem counter-intuitive to market a new branding tool through traditional methods, but the old classics work, too. Feature your new items at your hostess stand or cash register, sell them through your website, and promote them with signage and advertising.
Don’t forget social media! You could host an Instagram contest with branded items as prizing or ask customers to tag photos with your merchandise so you can share them on your feed. Not only will this get attention for your brand, but it will also give you the chance to show off your merchandise to a larger audience.
Incentivize your customers
Give them a reason to buy! Here are some ideas to get your customers excited to buy your items and promote your brand:
- Reward your regulars with a few freebies (or a discount) to get the ball rolling.
- Price your merchandise strategically to encourage multiple purchases.
- Give your customers 10 per cent off their purchase when they bring in your branded coffee cup for a drink.
- Donate a portion of the merchandise profits to help a great cause and give customers more of a reason to buy.
Merchandising can be a fun way to add a new element to your marketing while getting more attention for your restaurant and expanding your restaurant’s brand, not to mention attracting new clientele and increasing your profits.
Photo courtesy of Tim Hortons